Foreign Body Ingestion Threatens Pets

Foreign Body Ingestion Threatens Pets

Foreign Body Ingestion Threatens Pets

Dogs are curious by nature. They love to investigate new sights, smells, and tastes Foreign Body Ingestion Threatens Pets. Unfortunately, this curiosity can lead them into trouble. Dogs are notorious for swallowing paper, tissues, articles of clothing, sticks, wicker, bones, food wrappers, rocks, and other foreign objects. Some of these objects will pass through the intestinal tract without problem. It is common for dog owners to report finding all sorts of objects in their dog’s stool or vomit.

How is it diagnosed?

After obtaining a thorough medical history, your veterinarian will perform a careful physical examination. If a foreign body is suspected, abdominal radiographs (X-rays) will be performed. Several views or a series of specialized X-rays using contrast material (barium or other radiographic dye) will often be necessary. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend blood and urine tests to assess whether the patient’s health has been compromised by the obstruction, or to rule-out other causes of vomiting such as pancreatitis, gastroenteritis, infections, or hormonal diseases such as Addison’s disease.

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How is an intestinal foreign body treated?

Time is critical since an intestinal or stomach obstruction often compromises or cuts off the blood supply to these vital tissues. If the blood supply is interrupted for more than a few hours, these tissues may become necrotic or die, and irreparable damage or shock may result.

In some instances, the foreign body may be able to pass on its own. In this event, your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization of your dog for close observation, and will perform follow-up radiographs to track the progress of the foreign object.

If any clinical signs are related to an underlying condition, or if diagnostic testing indicates compromised organ systems, these abnormalities will also require treatment.

Does Your Dog Have an Appetite for Life?

Dogs are naturally curious, but sometimes their curiosity gets the best of them. This is especially true for dogs with mouths like vacuum cleaners – they tend to eat a lot of strange things. As connoisseurs of life, many dogs don’t hesitate to sample all sorts of objects from toilet paper to rocks, shoes to sticks, clothing, and even garbage. While many of these things somehow pass through the intestinal tract without incident – and at a dog-owner’s dismay – sometimes a dog’s appetite for life can cause problems. This is also true for cats – be sure to read about especially the potentially dangerous habit of eating thread. 

If you know your dog has ingested something he or she shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian immediately. The most common problem with this is foreign body obstruction. A potentially life-threatening condition, foreign body obstruction occurs when one of the many strange objects (foreign bodies) ingested by your dog is unable to make it successfully through the intestinal tract. When the object becomes “stuck,” it can cause a lot of discomfort and be very dangerous.

Causes and Symptoms
When something is ingested by your dog, it usually takes between 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract. Some objects, however, can take much longer – even months!

Sometimes, objects are too big to progress through the digestive tract, and when this is the case, they cause an obstruction. If the foreign body has made it to the colon, it’s likely to pass – however, there’s still the possibility that it will be painful, especially if it is sharp (like a stick). In cases like this, you might need veterinary assistance. It is important to follow this rule: never pull a foreign object that is protruding from your pet’s rectum! If still lodged inside, this can cause damage to the internal tissues.

Diagnosis
If a foreign body blockage is suspected, x-rays will be used to confirm the diagnosis. Often, several x-rays will be needed using contrast material (dyes) to locate the object. Additionally, your veterinarian may want to run blood and urine tests to determine whether your dog’s overall health has been negatively impacted by the obstruction and ato rule out other possible causes of vomiting such as  infections, or hormonal diseases like

Treatment
If your dog did eat a foreign body – stick, rock, or shoe – there are a few possible treatment options depending on the condition of your dog.

If your dog has been profusely vomiting, writhing in pain, and generally miserable the first thing your veterinarian will do is provide intravenous fluids and pain control.

If your dog still has the foreign body in his or her stomach, inducing vomiting may allow the dog to rid itself of the object. The object also may be removed through endoscopy, in which a long tube is inserted through the mouth of your dog and is used to pull the object from the stomach. Your veterinarian will make recommendations, and if this is the case, may also suggest hospitalization of your pooch for close observation and follow-up x-rays to track the progress of the item Foreign Body Ingestion Threatens Pets.

If the object has made it into the intestine, surgery is imminent. Time is absolutely of the essence because, as mentioned before, blockage in the intestine or stomach can cut blood supply to the stomach and intestinal tissue. After a few hours, it is possible for the tissue to become necrotic, or “die.”

 

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